Round 4 Previews

Another week of Big V action is upon us! Read about each of the competition’s twelve divisions as they prepare for the weekend of fixtures.

State Championship Men
State Championship Women
Division One Men
Division One Women
Division Two Men
Division Two Women
Molten Victorian Youth Championship Men
Molten Victorian Youth Championship Women
Youth League One Men
Youth League One Women
Youth League Two Men
Youth League Two Women

State Championship Men

Corio enters round four after a crushing defeat at Eltham last week, and will be desperate to get back on track. They face off against the Devils at home on Saturday, with Werribee struggling at the defensive end right now. That could be just the tonic for the Stingrays to find some rhythm with the ball in hand, but whether it will be enough to secure a much-needed win will remain to be seen.

It doesn’t get much easier on Sunday for Corio when they travel to Ringwood. The Hawks are still the team to beat despite McKinnon’s hot start to 2018, and there is real potential for things to get messy for the visitors again.

Hume City will host Knox with renewed confidence after going 2/2 in round three. The Broncos were shorthanded much of the weekend as well, which is always good for teams to band together, and they will be looking to take that momentum into this clash with the Raiders. The visitors got their season started last week with a win over Waverley and will be eyeing off two in a row.

Casey and Keilor will tough it out in what will be a tight battle. The Thunder have been solid so far in their SCM debut and will give plenty of teams trouble as they take aim at a playoffs berth in 2018. The Cavs, meanwhile, weren’t at their best in a loss to Blackburn last week and will be looking to bounce back hard at home.

McKinnon tackles Waverley in the match of the round, with the undefeated Cougars coming up against a side many believe can go all the way this year. The talent at McKinnon has never been questioned but the way it all came together fell short of the mark in 2017. That looks a tale of the past, however, and the formidable Cougars will head into this clash as warm favourites. Dillon Stith is in as good as form as ever in Big V, while Ivan Platenik is looking to bank another win against his former club.

The Cougs will back it up on Sunday with a trip to Knox, making for a tough weekend double. The Raiders broke through last week and suddenly looked dangerous after a pair of poor showings prior to Easter. A win at home here against the rampaging Cougars would well and truly have them back and purring like usual.

Waverley and Eltham will battle it out in another contender for match of the round, with the ‘Cats coming off a crushing win over hapless Corio last week. The Falcons will have home court in this one, but Eltham is in the better form so far in 2018 and will be fresh.. a gruelling matchup with McKinnon the night before could hurt the home side late in the contest.

Improvers Hawthorn will host Blackburn in a winnable clash for both sides. The Vikings broke through for their first SCM win last week when they knocked off Casey away from home in a tough win, and will fancy their chances of making it two straight against a young Magic side. That said, Hawthorn haven’t been far away at all this season and pushed Ringwood at The Rings last week, which is certainly something to take note of. Toss a coin for this one.

Werribee will round out the weekend by hosting Casey. Both sides are 1-2 coming into the round, but both will be hoping to snag victories the night before this clash. That could mean a victory here puts one side into the top four and above all the mid-table congestion, with Hume City entering the weekend at 2-2 in third. Plenty on the line for both sides in this one.

Corio Bay vs Werribee                                                Sat 6pm                                   Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Hume City vs Knox                                          Sat 8pm                                   Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium

Casey vs Keilor                                                Sat 8pm                                   Casey Stadium

McKinnon vs Waverley                                   Sat 8pm                                   GESAC

Knox vs McKinnon                                           Sun 2pm                                  State Basketball Centre

Ringwood vs Corio Bay                                   Sun 2pm                                  The Rings

Waverley vs Eltham                                        Sun 2pm                                  Waverley Basketball Centre

Hawthorn vs Blackburn                                  Sun 3pm                                  Boroondara Sports Complex

Werribee vs Casey                                          Sun 3pm                                  Eagle Stadium

State Championship Women

Cougars vs Falcons

After a strong opening game the Cougars have slipped in their last two outings and will be keen to test themselves against Waverley. In what is a vital game for the home team, a defensive effort against the likes on Tegan Cunningham, Kelly Bowen and Jackie Vanderzaag will be required, while at the other end some strong outside shooting by the Cougars wouldn’t go astray. Big test for McKinnon.

Hawks vs Boomers

It’s been a miserable start for Bulleen and there will be no let up here against a Ringwood team that is starting to find its stride. The Hawks have an up-tempo game style this season and if they can keep dropping their outside shots they will be tough to stop. The Boomers just need to get an opening win and try and claw their way back from a tough start. The inclusion of Sara Booth would help, but when that will be remains a mystery.

Jets vs Raiders

Based on the opening three games Sunbury goes in with more points per game and a defensive effort that leads to fewer points against than what Knox has delivered thus far. Of course that’s just a simplistic look at a game that should be a close contest. The Raiders haven’t really stepped up to the level we expect yet and we know a rise in form isn’t too far away, this game would certainly be a good time to kick it up. The Jets are loaded with talent and with Elyse Penaluna in good touch you can’t see the Raiders being able to stop her.

Wildcats vs Sharks

A good opportunity for the Wildcats to show us what they’ve got. The Sharks are young and dynamic, so expect them to push the ball. Alice Kunek will again be missing for the home team, so others will need to step up in her absence. The Sharks score more points than any other team per game and in the end that might be the determining factor here.

Thunder vs Broncos

Keilor is searching for some consistency and will be eager to deliver the goods against Hume City. When it comes to senior experience the Broncos will have far more on show than the Thunder, but you can’t help but feel the Thunder will catch more than a few teams napping this season. Broncos should win, but you just never know?

Raiders vs Cougars

One Sunday game and depending on the results from the previous night this one between Knox and McKinnon could be pivotal for both teams. Ariel Thomas is on the verge of delivering a triple‐double and if it comes in this game the Cougars will be well placed for a win. Knox prides itself on defence, so let’s see if they bring it?

McKinnon vs Waverley Sat 6pm GESAC

Ringwood vs Bulleen Sat 6pm The Rings

Sunbury vs Knox Sat 8pm Boardman Stadium

Eltham vs Sth Peninsula Sat 8pm Eltham High School

Keilor vs Hume City Sat 8:30pm Keilor Basketball Stadium

Knox vs McKinnon Sun 12pm State Basketball Centre

Division One Men

Steelers vs Jets

Dylan Travis has enjoyed a terrific start to the season and will be a handful for the Jets. It hasn’t been a fun start to the season for the visitors and they will be up against it with Travis and the Steelers looking to chalk up another win. Hard to see the Jets forcing the issue, but you never know.

Gators vs Cougars

A great match-up on the cards with two of the best teams (thus far) squaring up in the game of the round. Shepparton’s powerful duo of Spencer Coleman and Cameron Vines is proving near impossible to stop and if Keysie can’t keep one or both under control they will find it very hard to win. This game will be a ripper!

Boomers vs Black Angels

Bulleen will be disappointed they let a potential win slip last week, so expect them to bounce back hard against a Melbourne Uni outfit that just hasn’t fired a shot yet. Thadd Varmall looms as the key to this game and if he gets free, the Boomers will be very hard to stop. It’s time to see what the Black Angels can do?

Energy vs Supercats

It’s crunch time for Latrobe City, four straight losses wasn’t expected to start the season and if they don’t start clawing back quickly the chance of making finals will slip away. Both games this weekend are winnable, but both opponents will also be desperate for a much-needed win as well. Geelong continues to take a nothing-to-lose approach and they certainly won’t sit idle here. Expect a close contest.

Seahawks vs Gulls

A big weekend for the Seahawks that starts with a tough battle against Chelsea. Both teams appear to be genuine contenders this season and this contest will no doubt prove pivotal, especially for each team’s head-to-head record. Xavier Blount is due for a big one and his match up against Corey Standerfer is worth the entry cost.

Jets vs Energy

How important is this game? Nobody expected Sunbury and Latrobe City would be without a win going into R4, so it’s now or never for both teams. Anything other than a red-hot crack just won’t be acceptable here. The Energy will look to Crockett to fire and if he does the Jets might once again be in strife.

Seahawks vs All Stars

Interesting situation for Warrnambool with two home games on the menu and given their strength at The Arc this weekend provides the Seahawks with a massive opportunity to get up amongst the frontrunners. Collingwood certainly won’t lay down, they have enjoyed a great start to life in D1 and they will step out here feeling fresh.

Venom vs Steelers

Warrandyte has enjoyed a cracking start to the season and will like their chances against Western Port. The import match-up will be critical, but also look for Venom captain Brenton Charles to show his class in his 300th game (congrats skipper!) It’s a big weekend for the Steelers, if they can get two wins it will push them back up the ladder. Is Warrandyte a contender this season? We might be about to find out.

Western Port vs Sunbury Sat 7:30pm David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre

Shepparton vs Keysborough Sat 7:30pm Shepparton Sports Centre

Bulleen vs Melbourne Uni Sat 8pm East Doncaster Secondary College

Latrobe City vs Geelong Sat 8pm Latrobe Leisure Traralgon

Warrnambool vs Chelsea Sat 8pm The Arc

Sunbury vs Latrobe City Sun 1pm Boardman Stadium

Warrnambool vs Collingwood Sun 1pm The Arc

Warrandyte vs Western Port Sun 2pm Warrandyte Sports Complex

Division One Women

The Casey Cavs will have their winning streak tested this weekend, coming up against their first double weekend for the season. Currently with 3 wins to their name, they could potentially be jumping to 5 at the end of the weekend. First game up for them is an away game at Warrandyte. Now it is no news to anyone that the Venom have had an unfortunate start to the season but we are slowly beginning to see them improve. Whether they have improved enough to compete against a strong side like Casey is another story.

Onto the Sunday and the Cavs are back on their home court to host the Magic. This Magic side has also struggled to get into a rhythm thus far but they have however notched up one win on their belt. Although the Cavs will be coming off a game the night before, their still going to be too strong for the Magic to compete with. With all being said and done, this Casey side will be 5 and 0 at wekeneds end.

We are excited to see the outcome of this next match, the Mermaids up against the Gulls. The Mermaids have been up and down so far this season, grabbing good wins here and there but struggling to find consistency. As for the Gulls, although losing a number of players in the off season and even in season, they are still travelling alright with a 3-1 record. Both sides have a number of contributors but it will all come down to the team that executes it better.

One team that is a hot commodity at the moment is the Dragons. They are another team left undefeated and we don’t see that changing any time soon. They are up against the Energy this weekend, who are only new to that winning feeling this season. While we congratulate them on getting a W on the board, we think they are going to have to wait for another game before they get that feeling again.

The Heat surprised us all last week when they suffered a surprising loss but we expect them to bounce back in fine form when they take on the Devils. With the duo of Power and Gassion firing up week in week out, it takes a tough team defensively to lock them down. And with that being said, the travel up to Mildura will put the pressure on this Devils side, so much so, that they will head home empty handed.

We were excited to see the Supercats get their first win on the board last week and we can see them continuing this form into round 4. They have a big trip ahead of them on Saturday night, heading to Traralgon to take on the Energy. This game marks the beginning of a tough weekend for the Energy and now that the Supercats have that one win, they will be eager for more. They have some ground to make up for and this match will be one that is put to bed early.

Our last game for the weekend falls on the Steelers and the Pacers. The Steelers still remain winless but with their import now in town, they can work on getting the job done. As long as there are fellow contributors to the scoreboard, they will become a tougher team. They can’t rely on their import to do the hard work and get the wins too. The Pacers will be on a high after their round 3 win, cementing a two game winning streak. But can they make it 3?

Latrobe City vs. Geelong Sat 6pm Latrobe Leisure Traralgon

Warrnambool vs. Chelsea Sat 6pm The Arc Sports Stadium

Mildura vs. Werribee Sat 6pm Toyota Hothouse

Warrandyte vs. Casey Sat 8pm Warrandyte Sports Complex

Camberwell vs. Latrobe City Sun 1pm Balwyn High School

Casey vs. Hawthorn Sun 3.30pm Casey Stadium

Western Port vs. Whittlesea Sun 3.30pm David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre

Division Two Men

The Eagles head to the Swamp this weekend to tackle the Gators who have shown they will not give up if it means they can get the win. The Gators are coming off their first win and won’t be looking to leave that winners table any time soon. The Eagles are also comfortably sitting at the same table, but only one can remain there this week. Damon Smith was named the Player of the Month of March; can he continue his fine form this week against a tough Altona side.

After a horrendous weekend for Coburg, Pakenham have swooped in and stolen the top spot, which is only going to give the Warriors more confidence going into the clash of the Warriors. Maccabi are still on the hunt for their first win, but can they stun the Big V world and take down the leaders of the pack? Pakenham better not sleep on Maccabi because they are coming for them.

Sharknado hits Big V as the Sharks head in-land to the jungle to try take down some Panthers in an unforgettable  showdown, both sides are yet to leave the comfort of the winners table, but that is going to end for one of these two stellar sides. The Sharks will have to stop the high scoring duo Brent Radoslovic and Hayden Annett if they have a chance at getting out alive and with the W. The Panthers don’t get it easy though as they have to work out how to stop Colin Voss and Corey Bond from getting the ball in their hands because if they do, there is a high chance they will make you pay.

Two of our country teams go head to head this week, the Bushies have a tough trip ahead of them as you would all know any trip to the Hothouse is a tough one. Mildura’s home crowd get right behind their sides and can be the difference between winning and losing sometimes. North East will have to bring something special if they want to run with Mildura who have made it clear they want back in D1M in 2019.

The Suns have lost 3 games this season and all 3 have been less than 10 points, which shows they definitely have what it takes, they just need to work out how to stop that last play of the game that has killed them 2 out of the 3 losses they have suffered. Southern Pen have to back up with a double away weekend, will this be the thing Sherbrooke can use to get that elusive win.

After going 0-2 last weekend the Giants will be kicking themselves that they gave up the top spot. Now they know what it feels like to lose, they will be chomping at the bit to get back on the winning side. The Dragons are yet to feel the sting that comes from dropping a game. Can Coburg redeem themselves and feed Camberwell their first loss of the season? Is this the week Coburg’s import Michael Fortune gets on the court for them or is that injury more serious than expected?

The double back up, both teams have played once already this weekend so the playing field is even when it comes to tired bodies. The Panthers showed last week that the double doesn’t slow them down taking down Coburg to retain their undefeated run. Maccabi you could do the upset of the season if you can come out of this weekend 2-0 taking down two of the strongest teams in the league.

Altona vs. Craigieburn                                    Sat 7pm                                   Craigieburn Leisure Centre

Pakenham vs. Maccabi                                   Sat 7pm                                   Cardinia Life

Wallan vs. Southern Pen                                 Sat 8pm                                   RB Robson Stadium

Mildura vs. North East                                    Sat 8pm                                   Toyota Hothouse

Sherbrooke vs. Southern Pen                         Sun 2pm                                  Belgrave Heights Christian School

Camberwell vs. Coburg                                   Sun 3pm                                  Balwyn High School

Maccabi vs. Wallan                                        Sun 4pm                                  Bialik Stadium

Division Two Women

*Crickets * …..Well, nearly. It’s a quiet week for our Division Two Women counterparts with just six of our ten teams having a crack at the hardwood throughout round four and it’s all wrapped up by 1:30pm on Sunday!

Wallan opened up the floodgates last week and they’ll hope that’s a sign of the times when Blackburn come to town.

The Panthers have arguably the best front court in the land now with Emmie O’Nial being joined by Tessa Ramsay who has returned from a college venture overseas. The tall timber at Wallan will be hoping it can lead them to another potential grand final berth, with the Panthers not having to succumb to that red-hot Warrnambool side (after being promoted). The Vikings on the other hand have two wins on the bounce and will now be looking to claim a big scalp to really propel themselves this season. Andrea Belmonte is once again pacing the way, with Samantha Zennaro and Nikolina Sukurica chiming in!

Melbourne Uni make the trip to Mornington in game two of the round, the Breakers looking to escape a 1-4 hole. Lauren Bellegante has had a great start to season 2018, and she’s aided by Mel Fidler  – the pair averaging 13.3ppg each. The Black Angels have been locked in defensively so far this season and the coaching staff will surely want that to continue in the coming weeks!

For Mornington, a two game skid hasn’t helped proceedings post-Easter, however there’s no better time than the present to get things back on track. Led by Ash Wright, Erin Ludwick and Fiona Darnell there’s a big potential that this weekend could be the winner.

Finally, Sherbrooke (0-3) look to break their duck for 2018, however it won’t be an easy task when Collingwood come for a visit. Jada Buggs and Helen Roden seem like a really good tandem and when they’re clicking, there’s no slowing them down. Take last week for example – Buggs’ 20pts, 19reb, 9ast and Roden’s 20pts, 15reb, 3stl is an absolute recipe for success.

The Suns should be bolstered by the return of Bec Ross (14.5ppg, 15.5rpg), who’s been their best so far this season. However, it’s still looking to be a steep task for the competition returning Suns.

Best of luck to our six teams taking to the court in Round 4!

Wallan vs. Blackburn                                      Sat 6pm                                   RB Robson Stadium

Mornington vs. Melbourne Uni                      Sat 6:30pm                              Mornington Basketball Stadium

Sherbrooke vs. Collingwood                           Sun 12pm                                Belgrave Heights Christian School

Molten Victorian Youth Championship Men

Round three was jam packed, so thankfully round four has a little less pressure on our Molten VYCM teams; however, in terms of how some associations have started the season they may be putting some pressure on themselves!

R4 kicks off at 5pm on Saturday when Sandringham venture out to The Swamp in order to face the Gators who may be feeling a little bit of the second year blues. Having performed very well coming up into the division last year, the buzz may have just dropped off a little and now is the time to reinject some life to the team! Sandy haven’t had the best of starts by their standards either, and they’ll be disappointed but content with their performance against the defending champs last week. Interesting little match-up. Both sides then go on to play the day later, when Altona have the task of facing a slumping Tigers outfit away; Sandringham face Knox at home. Speaking on the Tigers – what’s up with them right now? A team that’s usually red-hot out of the gates really needs to find that spark to get them going. They’ve got the tools in Mason Gaze, Dan Kinkela and Jakob Corneliessen; they just need to fire!

Bulleen’s player turnover from last year certainly hasn’t helped proceedings, however this fall from grace probably wasn’t expected to the public eye. Despite being 1-2, the losses to Hawthorn and Blackburn are concerning for a side who only dropped one game ALL last year. Shayan Mahboobi (22ppg, 5rpg, 3.7apg) has picked up further responsibility and really looks to be leading the side at his young age, keep an eye out for this talent. Keilor would have relished their return to the top flight and competitive matches (despite not winning) will certainly put them in good stead. The Thunder return home on Sunday and await Nunawading; last year’s runners-up really finding contributions from a number of their role players which shows positive signs for the Spectres.

The age old rivalry between Diamond Valley and Eltham reignites this weekend, and even when it seems the two teams are going in opposite directions, you just never know who will reign supreme when the two sides meet. Loving the look of the Wildcats though, their depth right now shows real talent and it’s certainly helped having Christian Yammouni from the get-go rather than seeing him pop-up mid-season from college commitments.

While we mentioned Knox travel to Sandy on Sunday arvo, their weekend starts tough when they host Kilsyth at the State Basketball Centre. Corey Fiddes was up to his old tricks last week showing that he’s a force in the competition, however the Raiders will need Malik Meunier and (if available) Ab Nyok to stand up as well if they’re a chance against the in-form Cobras.

Sherbrooke head to Ringwood with both sides attempting to get back to .500. The Hawks are on a mini-slide having lost their last three and will be looking for Matt Hickey to return to form who has cooled off after his big opening weekend.

Finally at 1pm Sunday, Hawthorn host Blackburn, while McKinnon host Dandenong. It’s been a slow start for the Vikes (1-4) despite the brilliant play from Bul Niop and the Magic are really the big improvers in season 2018 thus far. McKinnon always need to shoot the ball well to be in with a shot, and what Dandenong team turns up? Guess we’ll find out Sunday!

Altona vs. Sandringham                                     Sat 5pm                                    Altona Sports Centre

Bulleen vs. Keilor                                               Sat 6pm                                    East Doncaster Secondary College

Diamond Valley vs. Eltham                                 Sat 8pm                                    DV Sports & Fitness Centre

Knox vs. Kilsyth                                                 Sat 8pm                                    State Basketball Centre

Ringwood vs. Sherbrooke                                   Sun 12pm                                 The Rings

Hawthorn vs. Blackburn                                     Sun 1pm                                   Boroondara Sports Complex

McKinnon vs. Dandenong                                   Sun 1pm                                   GESAC

Keilor vs. Nunawading                                        Sun 2pm                                   Keilor Basketball Stadium

Sandringham vs. Knox                                        Sun 2:30pm                              Nunn Media Basketball Centre

Melbourne vs. Altona                                         Sun 3pm                                   Oakleigh Recreation Centre


Molten Victorian Youth Championship Women

Another huge chunk of games to get us going as we encroach on the first month of fixtures in Molten VYC Women. There was a lot of talk throughout the week surrounding Diamond Valley’s hot start, but who would suit up for them in the future, as well as the disappointing start the Dandenong Rangers had endured to kick off 2018. Lots of time to right the wrongs!

We’ll start with those two teams in our preview, as Dandenong visit Hawthorn at Boroondara on Sat night. It’s been a rough start for the Rangers but if you take a deeper look at their opponents, most of them will be hard pressed towards the end of the season (RING/KNOX/MELB etc). Felicity Hilford has been very good early and expect a second and third cog to rise on this occasion.

DV have just the one game this week too as their host Ballarat. It was a tough weekend for the Eagles last time out and they shouldn’t expect it to get any easier from here on in. With their SEABL season kicking off last week, they’ll need to find some extra members to stand up when shorthanded.

Altona will still be on a high after knocking off DV last week, but now have the tough task of the past two VYCW champs to tackle. Sandringham and Melbourne is nearly the deadly-double-header and the Gators will be looking to continue to ride their three-game win streak! Massive test so early on in the year. Both the Sabres and Tigers have second games on the weekend, with fixtures against Knox and Warrandyte respectively. Both teams will go in as favourites and should continue on their (currently) undefeated ways.

Knox’s first match of the round is a battle with Kilsyth in what looks to be a nice match-up. While the Raiders have moved back to the pack a little over the last couple of years, the Cobras have moved up through the ranks and this contest looks to be a nice preview to see where both teams are at.

Ringwood make the trip up to Bendigo in what is looking like a really tough place to play in season 2018. The Braves have found a really good core in O’Toole/Appleby/Harrington and this should be a ripper of a match. The Braves will have to mentally focus however, as a trip to Waverley looms on Saturday night first, and, if all goes to plan, the Braves should be 5-1 after R4.

In the remaining games, Nunawading and Hume City go toe-to-toe, while Hawthorn face Bulleen in the second game of a back-to-back where the Boomers are still searching for their first W.

Altona vs. Sandringham                                 Sat 3pm                                   Altona Sports Centre

Hawthorn vs. Dandenong                               Sat 5:30pm                              Boroondara Sports Complex

Diamond Valley vs. Ballarat                            Sat 6pm                                   DV Sports & Fitness Centre

Knox vs. Kilsyth                                               Sat 6pm                                   State Basketball Centre

Warrandyte vs. Melbourne                             Sat 6pm                                   Warrandyte Sports Complex

Waverley vs. Bendigo                                     Sat 6:30pm                              Waverley Basketball Centre

Bendigo vs. Ringwood                                    Sun 12pm                                Bendigo Stadium

Nunawading vs. Hume City                             Sun 12:30pm                           Nunawading Basketball Stadium

Sandringham vs. Knox                                     Sun 12:30pm                           Nunn Media Basketball Centre

Melbourne vs. Altona                                     Sun 1pm                                  Oakleigh Recreation Centre

Bulleen vs. Hawthorn                                     Sun 1:30pm                             East Doncaster Secondary College

Youth League One Men

Sunbury and Casey kick off Round 4 with a bang, as two undefeated teams go at it each other in what looms to be contest of the weekend. It’s a showdown between two highly offensive teams where you can watch the likes of Kyle Collins and Nathan Baker take on Hunter Marks and Luke Beard!

The Jets back up on Sunday with a trek to Bendigo, a place where the Braves haven’t lost this season despite their 1-3 overall record. Jake Willcocks has been in some hot form, while you’d also expect a big performance out of Sam Beks as well. Certainly a tough one for the currently 4-0 Jets.

Geelong head to Broady lin a game where both teams are looking to start a winning mentality they can maintain. Both sides recently scored wins over Coburg, and will be hoping that their defensive priorities kick in on Saturday night to secure a victory. Watch for Bailey Kirkman and Josiah King at both ends of the floor.

The Supercats then face rivals Corio Bay on Sunday afternoon in a cracker, especially if the ‘Cats fall short the night prior. Both teams would then be 1-4 going into this contest, and even so, will be a massive game in the circumstances for the two sides. Geelong, like Bendigo actually, haven’t lost on home court this season (1-0) and should certainly play into their hands being back on their home floor for the second time this season.

Coburg and Werribee doesn’t quite look a friendly fixture on paper, however the Giants at home will really be looking to push the pace on Saturday night and respond to what’s been a subpar start to the year. They’ll need to restrict Werribee to something under 80, while continuing to be aggressive on the offensive end to be a chance.

Coburg get the early start on Sunday morning when Camberwell await at Balwyn High School. Both sides have been in a slump to start the year and without being blunt, these sorts of match-ups are all the more important in terms of trying to stay off the bottom.

Waverley and Warrandyte go at it in the late timeslot on Saturday night. Despite the Falcons coming down from 2017, they’ve come out hot to start 2018 and another win here would certainly put them as early title contenders as they’re ever determined to go straight back up into VYCM. The Venom get to host Ballarat on the Sunday as the Venom’s big three (Perry-Allamby/Molnar/Ronan-Black) are a really strong outfit at home which will certainly test the likes of Tristan Fisher and Ross Weightman from the Miners!

Sunbury vs. Casey                                           Sat 6pm                                   Boardman Stadium

Hume City vs. Geelong                                   Sat 6pm                                   Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium

Coburg vs. Werribee                                       Sat 6:30pm                              Coburg Basketball Stadium

Waverley vs. Warrandyte                               Sat 8:30pm                              Waverley Basketball Centre

Camberwell vs. Coburg                                   Sun 11am                                Balwyn High School

Warrandyte vs. Ballarat                                 Sun 12pm                                Warrandyte Sports Complex

Bendigo vs. Sunbury                                        Sun 2pm                                  Bendigo Stadium

Geelong vs. Corio Bay                                     Sun 2pm                                  AWA Alliance Bank Stadium

Youth League One Women

Can you believe it’s round 4 already, crazy hey! We have some big games ahead of us this week in an action packed round of sink or swim for some teams. Now is the time that some teams will be left behind, make sure your team isn’t one of those teams because from here on out it’s only going to get harder and harder to catch up.

McKinnon and Geelong are set for a big weekend with both teams having to don the uniform for a second time on Sunday, but first they have to get through game 1. Geelong hit the road Saturday night down the highway, and, if one team travels well it’s Geelong;  their record so far is 2-2 with both wins being on the road. The Cougars have a good chance to defend their home court here after a devastating 2 point loss last week.

It’s a battle to stay off the bottom of the ladder, neither team has had the chance to sit at the victory table with the rest of the teams. The Wildcats have been so close but just haven’t been able to get over the line in front while Chelsea have had some tough losses also but some rather large ones they would like to put behind them. No team likes to be 0-4 but sadly for the Gulls that’s where they currently are whereas the Wildcats sit at 0-3, who is going to finally taste victory for the first time in 2018?

As we go from the battle for a first win, next up is our battle to stay undefeated, both the Thunder and the Jets have had a dream run in 2018. The Keilor girls have taken note of their other 3 teams effort  in 2017 and have followed suit, we could say the same for Sunbury following their SCW team who won the flag in 2016 in D1W then went up to SCW and won that flag. If Sunbury can keep up this form they are well on their way.

The biggest rivalry in the competition is here, off the court these girls would have grown up together but on the court they become the biggest of rivals, pushing for those bragging rights once that final siren goes off. The Stingrays have a slight advantage here since they are coming in fresh while the Supercats will be coming off a tough match in the burbs Saturday night. Can Geelong get 2 from 2 slingshotting them up the ladder?

Criagieburn open their doors to the Cougars Sunday afternoon to kick off a double header with their youth men team. The Eagles will need to improve on last weeks performance if they want to stick with McKinnon here, especially if Tamara Booth, Emma Crees and Kelly Champion bring their A game, all 3 of those girls can get it done then you add the rest of the team and they really can be a force.

With some teams excelling and others struggling, there is a gap starting to show, who is your pick to take home the flag and make the jump to the exclusive VYCW?

McKinnon vs. Geelong                                    Sat 4pm                                   GESAC

Eltham vs. Chelsea                                          Sat 6pm                                   Eltham High School

Keilor vs. Sunbury                                           Sat 6:30pm                              Keilor Basketball Stadium

Geelong vs. Corio Bay                                     Sun 12pm                                AWA Alliance Bank Stadium

Craigieburn vs. McKinnon                               Sun 12pm                                Craigieburn Leisure Centre

Youth League Two Men

It was a standout weekend for the Panthers last week, coming away with two great wins. But can this form continue into round 4 when they take on Maccabi? This Warriors side has only dropped the one game so far and continue to be one of the front runners of the comp. In normal circumstances we wouldn’t hesitate to put the Warriors on the front foot in this match but after the Panthers defeated the All Stars last week, we really arent sure what to expect.

Other Warriors, Pakenham, have really struggled with their consistency of late, something we weren’t expecting from the early favourites. They have a prime opportunity to add another win to their name when they take on the Pacers Saturday night. The Pacers have been hit with some tough opponents to start their 2018 campaign, and we would normally say that Pakenham would be another. But with their current form, we have to give the Pacers a chance.

The Eagles are currently on a two game winning streak having taken easy wins over the Breakers and the Blues. But will they be able to add a further two wins this weekend when they take on both the Cougars and the Steelers? The Cougars are already 5 games in to their campaign and have only suffered the one loss. They really have become the surprise packet. We think the Eagles run of wins will end this Saturday night.

As for the Sunday however, the Eagles have a chance to bounce back. The Steelers and Eagles are on very similar paths at the moment and it really is anyones game. And with both teams potentially coming off loses, the stakes are going to be much higher. No one wants to go 0-2 after a weekend.

Speaking of the Steelers, they have to contend with the All Stars on the Saturday night, a team that has only recently succumbed to their first loss. We were surprised to see the result last week however they are a quality team and will be back to themselves in no time. In saying this, they will have no issues in restarting their winning record this weekend.

The Blues will become another team to host a Friday night spectacular this season and their opponent is none other than the Breakers. The Blues got off to a good start in round 1 but have struggled to keep this up. With their current track record, we see them struggling once again this weekend. The Breakers may be sitting middle of the pack at the moment, but are in a much better position heading into this match.

Unfortunately for the Breakers, their weekend doesn’t end here. They have a tough gig on Saturday night taking on the in form Thoroughbreds. This side is heading into the weekend on a three game winning streak and having only dropped the one game. It is fair to say that the Thoroughbreds are going to be far too strong for Breakers on this occasion.

To finish off this weekends previews, the Energy are in for another tough weekend of basketball. They are the only team left without a win and unfortunately this run is set to continue. They host the Gulls on Sunday afternoon and although this side is on a two game losing streak, they will be quick to jump back on the winning wagon.

Frankston vs. Mornington Fri 6pm Frankston Basketball Stadium

Pakenham vs. Whittlesea Sat 5pm Cardinia Life

Western Port vs. Collingwood Sat 5.30pm David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre

Keysborough vs. Craigieburn Sat 6pm Rowville Secondary College

Mornington vs. Melton Sat 8.30pm Mornington Basketball Stadium

Latrobe vs. Chelsea Sun 1pm Latrobe Leisure Traralgon

Maccabi vs. Wallan Sun 2pm Bialik Stadium

Craigieburn vs. Western Port Sun 2pm Craigieburn Leisure Centre

Youth League Two Women

Five game slate for Round Four and it kicks off with just the one Saturday night contest between Blackburn and Southern Peninsula. The Sharks are the second best defensive team in the land, and will once again rely on that pressure to stiffle the Vikings offence. That offence will be led by Isabella Nolen, who is currently averaging 14.4ppg and 10rpg. On the flip side, Keely Toohey has been everywhere for the Sharks with 10ppg and 9.7rpg.

Sherbrooke travel to Werribee in hope of breaking their duck. A better showing last week against Blackburn has the Suns in a better position than before the Easter break. The Devils will be glad to be back on home deck for this one, having troubles finding form on the road and should use this as a booster for further things ahead. Watch for good performances from Lauren Jones and Taylah Lea.

Casey and Pakenham take their 3-0 records into a Sunday afternoon encounter which is sure to raise and few eyebrows, as well as get a few bums on seats. This one shapes up to be a really good preview of what we may see at the latter end of the calendar year. Lauren Tuplin has been on fire early, but she’s certainly not doing it alone. For the Warriors, we know what Ellie Coutts can do on the basketball court so it’s time to keep your eyes peeled on Chloe Maas and Rhiannon Gallagher!

Whittlesea venture out to Western Port where the Steelers await. Both sides go into this one 1-2 and will be keen to make it back to .500 early on in the season. The Pacers have some tall timber in Chloe Villiva and Hailey Wynd which proves ever so difficult to disrupt the paint if you’re on the opposing side. The Steelers however will have a fair old crack at attemping to get points in the paint, as Myra Wood, Britt Suarjaya and co. attempt to find cracks in the system.

Finally, Frankston host Mornington in the third game of the 1:30pm slot on Sunday afternoon, with the Breakers looking to get on the board in season 2018. Despite the Blues having won just one game, it looks a tough ask for the visitors with Frankston having gone down by just two points in both losses (to some handy competition too!). Annabel Fitter, Kassie Boorer and Tori Jackson should all see good production and tipping this one to go in the Blues’ favour.

Blackburn vs. Southern Peninsula                  Sat 7:30pm                              Knox Basketball Stadium

Werribee vs. Sherbrooke                                Sun 1pm                                  Eagle Stadium

Casey vs. Pakenham                                       Sun 1:30pm                             Casey Stadium

Western Port vs. Whittlesea                          Sun 1:30pm                             David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre

Frankston vs. Mornington                               Sun 1:30pm                             Frankston Basketball Stadium

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